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'Not going to let this stop us': Mississippi residents cleaning up after deadly, devastating storms

Mississippi residents cleaning up after deadly, devastating storms
Mississippi residents cleaning up after deadly, devastating storms 02:32

Severe thunderstorm watches are up in large parts of Georgia Monday after a devastating weekend of extreme weather throughout the Southeast.

Tornadoes killed at least 26 people and flattened several communities.

Fast-rising water and the threat of a dam failure forced evacuations downstream from Heads Creek Reservoir, about 45 miles south of Atlanta.

'I know we can rebuild': Deadly storms devastate Mississippi, Deep South 02:32

Since Sunday, storms have pounded the area and tornadoes touched down in Western Georgia destroying about 30 homes.

"Whole house was shaking," a resident said.

It was the same system that obliterated communities Friday night in Western Mississippi.

Before and after satellite photos showed how much was lost in the town of Rolling Fork.

Mississippi resident Eric Thompson rescued his mother who rode out the storm in a closet.

"She said as soon as she sat down in the closet, it just came and swept through the house," Thompson said.

Mississippi is one of the poorest states in the United States, and the area around Rolling Fork, is one of the poorest in the state.

That makes donation centers so important.

"We've got people coming all the way from Minnesota and Wisconsin, that have just come down and within 24 hours, they're here, saying let me help," volunteer Dante Fontenot said.

With so much of the town gone, many have nowhere to live or work.

But college student Armon Andrews remains hopeful.

"Do you think there's a future for Rolling Fork?" WJZ's Mike Hellgren asked.

"I do," Andrews said.

Andrews understands that rebuilding Rolling Fork will take years.

"We're not going to let this stop us," Andrews said.

Teams with FEMA say they're working with the governor to find housing solutions and are promising to stay as long as needed.

Mississippi has opened more than a half-dozen shelters for storm victims.

President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration for the hardest-hit counties.

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